Charles Stanley – Trusting God’s Faithfulness

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Is there something God has told you to do that seems too difficult? If He has called you to carry out His will, you can trust that He’s faithful to accomplish it through His Spirit living and working in you. So if you tell Him, “I can’t do that, Lord—what if I fail?” you’re actually doubting that God keeps His word. And yet, our total expectation should be in Him—not in our own energy, ability, or experience.

When you doubt God’s trustworthiness, unbelief becomes a gap in your spiritual armor, and it is where Satan wants to attack you. You’ll begin to doubt other elements of God’s character, such as His goodness—and distrust will become baggage that’ll weigh you down in every area of life.

You might feel that you do not have enough faith to obey, but the Lord isn’t asking you to trust in favorable circumstances. He’s asking you to believe that He is who He says He is.

It’s easy to doubt God when you’re focused on the obstacles in front of you, but when you fix your eyes on Him and believe what Scripture says about His faithfulness, then you can do anything He requires. No matter what lies ahead, remember that God is not a liar, and He is faithful. You’ll be strengthened by your dependence on Him—whether a deluge of trials or a flood of blessings comes.

It’s actually when life gets rough that you’ll recognize the reality and sweetness of God’s faithfulness. As you walk through those storms in complete reliance on His strength, your trust in His character will become part of who you are and provide strength from within.

Bible in One Year: Colossians 1-4

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — “The Lord’s”

 

Read: Isaiah 44:1–5 | Bible in a Year: Hosea 1–4; Revelation 1

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16

It doesn’t take much to notice that getting “inked” is very popular these days. Some tattoos are so small that one barely notices them. Others—from athletes to actors to everyday people—have opted to cover much of their bodies with multicolored inks, words, and designs. The trend seems like it’s here to stay, a trend that netted $3 billion in revenue in 2014—and an additional $66 million for tattoo removal.

Regardless of how you may feel about tattoos, Isaiah 44 speaks metaphorically about people writing something on their hands: “The Lord’s” (v. 5). This “self-tattoo” is the climax of an entire paragraph that speaks of the Lord’s care for those He had chosen (v. 1). They could count on His help (v. 2); and their land and descendants were marked for blessing (v. 3). Two simple, powerful words, “The Lord’s,” affirmed that God’s people knew they were His possession and that He would take care of them.

Those who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ can confidently say of themselves, “The Lord’s!” We are His people, His sheep, His offspring, His inheritance, His dwelling. These are the things we cling to in the varied seasons of life. While we may have no external mark or tattoo, we can take heart that we have the witness of God’s Spirit in our hearts that we belong to Him (see Romans 8:16–17).

Father, the expressions of Your love and care are all around me and Your Spirit lives within me. Thank You!

How can the truth that you belong to God impact how you live?

By Arthur Jackson

INSIGHT

Isaiah was the most prolific of the writing prophets, but the great size of his book is eclipsed in importance by its content. Commentator John Gill wrote: “He should rather be called an evangelist than a prophet . . . certain it is that no one writes so fully and clearly of the person, offices, grace, and kingdom of Christ; of his incarnation and birth of a virgin; of his sufferings and death, and the glory that should follow, as [Isaiah] does.” Isaiah’s focus on Messiah and His mission was vital to preparing the way for Christ’s coming, for it provided Israel with critical identifiers of Christ and certain hope in His promised victory.

For more on Isaiah, check out Knowing God Through Isaiah at discoveryseries.org/sb151.

Bill Crowder

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – It’s a Wonderful Life

“I know what I’m going to do for the next year, and the next year, and the year after that…I’m going to shake the dust off of this crummy old town and I’m going to see the world.”(1)

Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is the classic film of Christmas holiday fare. It’s ubiquity on the airwaves belies its dismal performance at the box office when it was first released just after World War II.(2) Capra’s film follows the life of George Bailey in his small town. And while the film has a happy ending, it exposes the creeping despair and bitterness that comes from the loss of George’s dreams. The film offers a powerful visual of the gap that forms between knowing what George will do “the next year and the year after that” and the reality of living that leaves him wondering whether his is a wonderful life.

Despite the film’s often saccharine sentimentality, it nevertheless presents a realistic picture of lost or abandoned dreams. Like the film’s main character, George Bailey, many of us had dreams of “seeing the world” and “kicking the dust off” of our ordinary lives and existence. Our ideal plans and goals called us out into an ever-expanding future of possibility and adventure.

In this sense, It’s a Wonderful Life offers all who enter into its narrative a chance to look into the chasm between many cherished ideals and the often sober reality of our lives. This glimpse into what is often a gaping chasm of lost hopes and abandoned dreams offers a frightening opportunity to let go. Indeed, facing the death of ones’ dreams head on forces a moment of decision. Will we become bitter by fixating on what has been lost, or will we walk forward in hope on a path of yet unseen possibility?

For Christians, the classical language of faith offers resources in depth for facing the fact that life entails death; it cannot be circumnavigated or avoided. Those who follow the path of Christ are presented with a decision: will the giving up of aspects we suspect essential to our vision of a ‘wonderful’ life lead us to bitterness or to hope? The discipline of discipleship often reveals hands grasped tightly and tenaciously around ideals that must give way to new realities. Author M. Craig Barnes suggests that the journey away from our own sense of what makes for a wonderful life is actually the process of conversion. “It is impossible to follow Jesus and not be led away from something. That journey away from the former places and toward the new place is what converts us. Conversion is not simply the acceptance of a theological formula for eternal salvation. Of course it is that, but it is so much more. It is the discovery of God’s painful, beautiful, ongoing creativity along the way in our lives.”(3)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – It’s a Wonderful Life

Joyce Meyer – Make Healthy Choices

 

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…. — Genesis 2:9

Adapted from the resource New Day New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Learn to do everything you do for God’s glory, including eating. Look at your dinner plate and ask if what you are about to eat is mostly what God created for you.

Don’t view eating as a secular event that has nothing to do with your relationship with God. Don’t forget that God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and told them what they could eat. If eating had nothing to do with their walk with Him, He probably would not have mentioned food.

Make good choices! Each time you choose good healthy foods, you are choosing life, which is God’s gift to you. He wants you to look great and feel great, and you can, if you keep in mind that your body is the temple of God and the fuel you put into it determines how it will operate and for how long.

Prayer Starter: Lord, Your Word says that my body is the temple of Your Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:9). Help me to properly care for my body and choose to eat foods that will promote good health so I can serve You to the best of my ability. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Same Father

 

“We who have been made holy by Jesus, now have the same Father He has. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers” (Hebrews 2:11).

Though you and I have been made holy by Jesus, we need to ask ourselves a question: Have we really been set apart, consecrated, devoted to God experientially?

A practical definition of the word consecration would carry the idea that you and I are willing to do anything the Lord asks us to do. Is that really the case? Are we listening closely enough to His still small voice even to know what He really wants us to do?

Once a popular TV commercial asked, “How do spell relief?” We might ask ourselves, “How do you spell commitment?” Too many of us, I’m afraid, spell it C-O-N-V-E- N-I-E-N-C-E. If it is convenient for us to share the good news of the gospel, we will do it; if it is convenient for us to go to Sunday school, church or prayer meeting, we will do it.

True commitment is a rare commodity these days – even among Bible-believing, evangelical Christians. Otherwise our churches would be full; our witnessing would be a normal daily routine; our lives would be more Christlike.

We have already been made holy, but we need to reckon on that fact – and through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, live like holy people. Meditate on this fact: We have the same Father as Jesus, and Jesus calls us His brothers. What a great honor and privilege is ours!

Bible Reading:Hebrews 10:5-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will count on the holiness of Christ within me to make me all that He wants and intends me to be, As a member of God’s supernatural family I shall claim God’s power to live supernaturally.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Questions for Mary

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

A friend of mine asked her students to make a list of questions, they would like to ask Mary. Here are some responses: “What was Jesus’ first word?” “Did he ever get sick?”  “Did Jesus ever misbehave?” They’re all legitimate questions.

The fact that we can ask them raises a greater one.  Why did God go so far?  Why did He become a human being?  A chief reason?  He wants you to know that he gets you. The Bible says in the book of Hebrews, He understands how you feel and has faced what you face.  Jesus has been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin!  (Hebrews 4:15-16).  So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give.  “Take the mercy, accept the help!” Because of Bethlehem, you can boldly go to him!

Read more Because of Bethlehem

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Facebook tribute to ‘the man in 2D’ goes viral

Last Thursday, Kelsey Zwick boarded a flight from Orlando to Philadelphia with Lucy, one of her eleven-month-old twin daughters. Lucy suffers from severe chronic lung disease and still needs oxygen at night and when flying.

Carrying Lucy’s oxygen machine, the two were settled into their seat when a flight attendant told them a passenger in first class wanted to switch places. Kelsey later expressed her gratitude to “the man in 2D” in a Facebook post that quickly went viral:

“Thank you. Not just for the seat itself but for noticing. For seeing us and realizing that maybe things are not always easy. For deciding you wanted to show a random act of kindness to US. It reminded me how much good there is in this world. I can’t wait to tell Lucy someday.”

We change the world one person at a time.

“That’s a lot about me, Jon.”

At the state funeral for President George H. W. Bush, biographer Jon Meacham read one of the most meaningful eulogies I have ever heard. I wished that the president could have heard his moving words of tribute.

It turns out, he did.

Meacham wrote a bestselling biography of the forty-first president titled Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. Through the project, he and the Bush family developed a close and personal relationship.

He was asked to deliver the eulogy at President Bush’s state funeral. Not long before the president died, Meacham read to him the words he planned to share at his service. With his characteristic humor, Bush replied, “That’s a lot about me, Jon.”

While Meacham and others who delivered tributes to the president have been applauded for their eloquence, the truth is that George H. W. Bush wrote his own eulogy with his life. He authored no formal autobiography (All the Best, a book of his letters, diary entries, and memos, comes the closest), but he lived with such courage, patriotism, and integrity that his life became his legacy.

Charles Spurgeon advised us: “Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

“You will become a mere social wastrel”

I am reading Andrew Roberts’s magisterial biography, Churchill: Walking with Destiny. I am familiar with Winston Churchill’s story, having visited his place of birth at Blenheim Palace, his war rooms in London, and the House of Commons where he began his political career. His life and leadership have fascinated me for many years.

However, I did not realize the degree to which Churchill’s father did not believe in him. At one point, the young Churchill wrote to him for encouragement. His father responded by expressing his fear that “you will become a mere social wastrel” and that “you will degenerate into a shabby, unhappy and futile existence.”

Roberts notes that “his son was able to quote from that letter from memory thirty-seven years later, showing how much its message of distrust and contempt seared him.”

This was an early example of the setbacks Churchill would face. He suffered from depression, numerous physical ailments, and widespread opposition from his many political enemies. But he went on to lead Great Britain to victory in World War II, publish more words than Shakespeare and Dickens combined, and become the only British Prime Minister to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

It’s hard to think of a biblical figure whose eulogy would not include challenges and heartbreak. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery; Moses was a murderer and fugitive from the law; David’s sin with Bathsheba is one of the first things we remember about him. Daniel was exiled; Peter failed his Lord; John was imprisoned and left to die.

But the world’s opinion of us is seldom God’s.

A decree that changed history

Octavian, the great-nephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar, was granted the honorific “Augustus” by the Roman Senate in 27 BC to recognize his status as emperor. He is known for creating an empire that would last for fifteen centuries. (The month of August is named for him.)

Few who knew him would have believed that his eulogy today would center on a single verse of Scripture: “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered” (Luke 2:1).

The emperor could not know that his edict issued for taxation purposes would force a Galilean carpenter and his pregnant wife to hike more than ninety miles south to his ancestral home in Bethlehem. Or that their obedience would fulfill a prophecy made seven centuries earlier that the Messiah would be born there (Micah 5:2). Or that Bethlehem’s proximity to Egypt would make it easier for the Holy Family to escape when King Herod sought to kill the baby Jesus.

God is working whether we know it or not. He is using us whether we wish to be used or not. But our lives achieve their greatest fulfillment and joy when we trust and obey him today.

We write our eulogies one day at a time.

How to change the world

And we seldom know at the time how our obedience will change the world.

The sailors aboard the USS Finback did not know when they pulled a twenty-year-old Navy pilot out of the Pacific Ocean that they were saving a future president of the United States. That’s because the future is not visible to the present.

If you want to change the world, write your name on someone’s heart today.

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/